Thinkific is one of the more popular online course platforms that you can use to create and sell courses and membership sites. It allows you to build a course with videos, rich text and images, and downloadable files.
You can publish a sales page with all your own branding to collect payments and grant access to the course. And on the backend you can publish a curriculum (a drag and drop Table of Contents like the image on the right) for students to navigate between course sections, take quizzes, and obtain certificates for completing courses.
Thinkific has 4 price plans: Free, $49, $99, and $499. The free plan is a great starter option for new course instructors. The premium plans offer unlimited courses and additional flexibility to customize your course.
Thinkific Review Summary
Thinkific is a powerful, business-friendly online course creation platform that allows anyone to easily and fully customize the look and functionality of their online course business.
Thinkific is accessed by over 16 million students in 164 countries and has generated over $200 million in sales.
Pros of Thinkific
Cons of Thinkific
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Now, let’s look deeper to find what Thinkific has to offer and whether it is the right solution for you or not.
What is Thinkific
Thinkific was founded by a Vancouver teacher, Greg Smith, who was looking for a way to reach a larger number of students.
Nowadays, there are 70+ employees at Thinkific. The company is growing so rapidly that it actually doubles every year.
Thinkific can be used in many ways and serve several different purposes.
You can use it to create all sorts of online courses – and there are thousands of course creators who are making money by selling their courses through Thinkific.
You can see some of these online course examples here.
It can also be used by companies to carry out internal training for their staff.
Thinkific is even being used by schools and universities to help them teach online courses. Thinkific is thus a very versatile learning platform, and its growth will have you secure that its list of features and its functionality will continue to expand.
Thinkific is used by over 36,000 course creators and includes big names like Lewis Howes (School of Greatness), John Lee Dumas (Entrepreneur on Fire), and Sunny Lenarduzzi (YouTube guru). But it’s not just for entrepreneurs, Enterprise customers include Hootsuite, Samsung, Intuit, Aweber, and many more.
Thinkific is accessed by over 16 million students in 164 countries and has generated over $200 million in sales.
Thinkific Course Builder Module.
As a platform for creating online courses, Thinkific gets full marks for its content versatility, ability to create different membership levels, custom course appearance, and drip content features.
Keeping online courses interesting can be challenging for most educators.
Thinkific supports at least 12 different content formats for online courses.
- Brillium exams
- Live feed (beta)
For content creators migrating from other platforms or having existing material, Thinkific allows them to add multiple content pieces with its ‘Bulk Importer.’
Thinkific educators can upload custom images and descriptions for individual courses.
Thinkific paid plans offer higher levels of customization. You can choose different color themes (light or dark), change the color and font of your website, add lesson labels (the type of lesson), and a course player logo.
If you’re a business coach or influencer, these white-labeling options help you highlight your personal brand in a strong way.
As an educator, providing access to your online courses must be accompanied by a proper revenue strategy. Thinkific allows educators to create different membership levels. Here are the membership levels we found during our research.
- Free membership plan
- One-time payment
- Subscription membership
- Monthly payment plan
- Custom pricing options
Although, you’ll need access to Thinkific’s Pro plan to use these membership options.
One of the benefits of using Thinkific for your course is its ability to offer drip content. As a coach, you may require your students to cover previous lessons to implement the ideas successfully.
Drip content allows you to schedule content release in accordance with user milestones, such as student enrollment date, student course start date, and custom calendar days.
The online learning experience can become stale without providing proper motivation. As an online educator, you need to keep your students motivated.
To help with this, Thinkific allows educators to create professional course completion certificates.
You can choose pre-loaded certificate templates or even customize certificates with your brand image. Thinkific provides options such as adding your brand or school logo, changing fonts and colors to match your brand, and assigning a single certificate to multiple courses.
Thinkific Website Builder
Your website plays a critical role in the success of your online coaching business.
Thinkific ranks high when it comes to creating a website for your online school. We reviewed multiple options across different learning management systems (LMS) and couldn’t be any more satisfied.
Here is what Thinkific’s website functionality provides.
Drag-and-Drop Page Builder
For someone not associated with the technology world, creating a web page, handling HTML, or editing CSS could be a big challenge.
Thinkific makes it a breeze to create a page for your course or any other pages of your website.
You can choose between different sections, including banners, call-to-action, checklist, countdown timers, image gallery, reviews, videos, and much more. Adding a new section requires you to simply drag the element to its desired position.
You can choose from default page templates or create entirely new designs for your website.
Another exciting feature that we found in Thinkific is its pre-built theme library.
Instead of creating a website from scratch, course creators can choose a template as their foundation. Thinkific offers multiple themes and a simple customization interface.
As of now, there are three different themes with ten variations available to course creators.
Add Custom Domain
Thinkific allows course creators to use custom site URLs for their course website, although the functionality is available with paid plans only.
If you’re just starting your online coaching business, you can use a free subdomain Thinkific offers to members under the FREE subscription plan.
SSL is a must for all websites nowadays. Not only does it secure any information your students may share on your website, but it also ensures that your site doesn’t show a ‘Not Secure’ warning in the Chrome browser.
Thinkfic offers a basic SSL certificate for all the plans. If you want to use your custom SSL, you have to upgrade to the ‘Premier’ plan.
White Labeling Solutions
Thinkific provides an option to remove its branding for course creators’ websites, i.e., ‘Powered by Thinkific’ text.
If you’re a business coach or want to use your branding, you will need the Pro plan with the Growth package to remove Thinkific branding.
Course Payment Options
Considering money is the principal reason why most tutors get into the online learning business, I was particularly keen on the online course payment options on Thinkific.
And thankfully, there’s a range of models here. Not just the standard subscription method.
In fact, you could even choose to distribute your courses for free (free plan). And come to think of it, I guess this would be a clever strategy when you’re trying to build momentum for a mega launch.
Then later, you may apply either a one-time payment system or a subscription-based model on the real deal. The former essentially charges single fees to access the online course content, while the latter option involves recurrent payments over a period of time. Essentially the stuff of membership-based online schools (or a membership site).
But, don’t mistake that with “Monthly Payments”, which happens to be another online course payment option on Thinkific. This one is slightly different because course the online course fees are split over several months and subsequently paid in installments.
Now, all these options can be accessed from the “Managing Learning Content” area. And while you’re at it, you could apply a single pricing system on a course, or alternatively, proceed with multiple payment systems.
Then for transaction processing / transaction fee, Thinkific provides several payment gateway integrations. Most people, of course, would consider using STripe or PayPal because of their extensive coverage. They happen to support all the major credit and debit cards you can think of.
Otherwise, you could also choose Quaderno for its smart EU VAT management capabilities, or Stunning if you want to avoid failed payments with Stripe
Thinkific Sales and Marketing
Promoting your online course should be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy.
Thinkific, surprisingly, has some amazing tools and marketing integrations for your online courses.
One of the best ways to motivate your prospects for sale is to offer a discount. Thinkific allows course producers to create coupons for an instant discount.
You can choose to offer a percentage discount or a fixed discount. It is possible to generate multiple coupon codes for every course.
Your students can apply it at the time of checkout, although there is an option for auto-application of coupons when buyers directly land on your checkout page.
Promoting your content on partner networks or websites is another excellent way to boost your sales.
Thinkific offers sales widgets for easy marketing. You can use these code snippets on network websites for driving sales to your courses. You can use different variations, including buttons or course cards.
If you’re already using marketing tools, such as Mailchimp or Aweber or any other marketing platform, Thinkific allows you to connect these email marketing platforms to your Thinkific account.
We found third-party integrations for various categories, including:
- E-commerce: Stripe, PayPal, Shopify, Stunning
- Automation: Zapier, Infusionsoft
- Analytics: Google Analytics, Facebook, Segment.io
- Email marketing: Mailchimp, ConstantContact, ConvertKit, Aweber
- Student success: Zoom, Accredible, Disqus
- Growth tools: Sumo
One of the best and most popular digital marketing tactics is to work with affiliates to promote your courses.
Thinkific allows you to add affiliates for your courses. You can enroll your existing or new students as affiliates or simply promote your affiliate offers to third-party users.
Thinkific enables you to track your affiliate program and approve commissions. However, you have to make payments to your affiliates outside the Thinkific platform. It doesn’t support direct payments at the moment.
Thinkific Student Management
The student management module is at the core of any LMS. Thinkific excels when it comes to a user-friendly student management system.
Thinkific has a seamless student onboarding process, providing all the necessary details to new enrollments through emails, notifications, and the ability to participate in relevant communities.
For online course creators, you can add clear segments, filters and use different Thinkific features to develop a comprehensive learning ecosystem.
Note: Thinkific provides the ability to enroll unlimited students in your courses for all the plans (including its free plan).
User Groups, Communities, Discussions
If you are creating a new course, one of the primary factors to consider is to drive user interaction. Thinkific provides multiple features for promoting student activity within your course. You can create groups, communities, and discussions surrounding course content or other topics.
- Groups: Thinkific allows you to divide your students into different cohorts using groups, although this feature isn’t available with the basic plan. If you’re offering a free course to drive sales into high-value courses or a course bundle, you can easily segregate these users into a different group.
- Communities: You can improve the course building process and overall user experience by creating communities. These communities provide a platform for vibrant, meaningful discussions among your students.
- Discussions: It’s a common tendency among potential buyers to check community discussions before enrolling in membership sites. Thinkific allows you to add discussions to your online coaching website. Members can check the complete storyline and understand more about the progress made by your previous students. It’s an effective way to promote course upsells.
Student Progress Reports, Reviews, Certificates
Before creating unlimited courses within your online academy, you need to understand how students feel about your courses. Most new educators will be surprised by the learning curve involved in this process.
Thinkific has multiple features to track student progress and feedback, including progress reports, reviews, and certificates.
- Student Progress Reports: Progress reports help you analyze the progress of your enrolled students. You can track student progress across different courses, completion rates, and sign-in activity.
- Reviews: If you are seeking feedback from your students, reviews are a great way to do that. Additionally, you can use reviews to boost your sales. One of the Thinkific features that come in handy is the ability to edit reviews and embed them in your course’s landing page. You can use reviews on your sales page or throughout your website to boost customer confidence.
- Certificates: Another reason why Thinkific is a popular course creation tool is its ease of use. You can create course completion certificates by simply choosing one of the available templates. Thinkific allows you to use custom image backgrounds for course certificates.
Assignments, Quizzes, Surveys
An integral part of any course creation platform is its ability to gauge the progress of a student. Thinkific provides multiple testing methods to ensure that your students are taking the course well.
You can create assignment lessons on Thinkific. Thinkific allows you to add a sample file or template file for students. The maximum size for student submissions is 100MB, which will suffice most worksheet-based tests.
You can also add multiple quizzes to your Thinkific course. You can add one-answer or multiple-answer questions in a quiz. Thinkific provides a WYSIWYG editor, allowing you to easily add graphics or videos to your quizzes.
Thinkific allows educators to create a question bank for every quiz. The platform will choose random questions for every student, helping you create unique quizzes.
If your course involves webinars or live classes, adding surveys could be a brilliant idea to identify the learning outcomes or student preferences. You can also embed surveys within your course to gain critical student insights.
Thinkific Reporting Capabilities & Data Security
Creating an online coaching business requires various systems in place. The ability to track your sales, along with student engagement, is a critical aspect of this process.
Thinkific comes with a robust reporting system. You can get real-time insights into your business with Thinkific’s matrices.
Thinkific is experimenting with its advanced reporting capabilities (Beta), but we already like what we see.
Advanced reporting allows course creators to track:
- Revenue: You can track your overall revenue using this segment. Thinkific provides multiple filters, allowing you to identify which courses and channels are bringing the most sales. You can use several filters, including courses, course types, payment providers, payment type, customer type (new or returning), and similar categories.
- Orders: This section helps you review completed orders for different periods. You can segregate orders using different filters, including coupons, payment method and type, and types of students.
- Enrollments: The enrollment section allows you to track free and paid enrollments over time. It is excellent if you’re trying to boost course sales by offering a promo course or free course to your students.
- Student engagement: In order to provide content that ensures the highest student learning and experience, Thinkific offers insights into how students are using your course. You can check their interaction with different media types, the average time required to finish a course, quiz scores, and similar student data.
Identify theft instances are on the rise. A careful analysis of data from the Federal Trade Commission indicates a consistent growth in data theft cases.
As an online educator, these stats could be worrisome, especially if you’re using plugins to run your courses (WordPress).
Thinkific takes care of any security concerns you may have. The course creation tool offers free SSL encryption with all of its memberships, even the free plan.
Thinkific uses secure cloud hosting to protect yours as well as your students’ data. If you’re habitual of taking daily backups of your previous website or courses, Thinkific offers a huge relief with automatic backups.
Thinkific applies any updates automatically across all the websites. If you’re using Thinkific API for a private course, you may want to check Thinkific’s API documentation.
In short, you don’t have to worry about the security of your data. Thinkific lets you focus on what you do best, making awesome courses.
Thinkific supports a wide selection of integrations to help you take your course experience to the next level.
There are plenty of great options to choose from. Head to your Admin dashboard, in the Market & Sell sections, and you’ll see an Integrations tab. Here you can find:
- Ecommerce integrations: Like PayPal and Stripe
- Email marketing integrations: For ConvertKit, MailChimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign and Constant Contact.
- Analytics integrations: For Mixpanel, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Site Verification, Conversion Tracking (AdWords), etc.
- Communication integrations: For Intercom, Highways.io, etc
Thinkific also offers a series of integrations with Infusionsoft by Keap, and payment solutions supported by Infusionsoft by Keap. If you want to go beyond the basics with Thinkific integrations, you can explore Zapier. There’s also the option to create courses and sell them through Shopify with Thinkific.
Remember that the add-on options for course creation on Thinkific are constantly changing. Make the most of your business growth package by checking for new plugins all the time. You’ll find support for everything from Brillium to Convertkit.
The pre-sale support looks decent since the website is informative and you can browse through some case studies and real-world customers who have made their online courses with Thinkific.
The Resource page includes product demos for you to get started with Thinkific without signing up for a plan. You’ll also find a full blog with several tutorials to guide you along the way. A free video training is also available on the Thinkific site, along with some links to the company’s social media platforms.
For direct support, Thinkific provides a Help Center, with multiple options of communication:
- Email support: Thinkific provides a robust email support system. Its standard response time is within 24 hours or even sooner. The platform continues to send emails that will help you get started and keep you motivated throughout the course creation process.
- Phone support: Thinkific shines when it comes to phone support. None of the other platforms we review offer phone support, giving Thinkific an edge over its competition.
- Learning center: Thinkific has created a vast learning center. Course creators can check step-by-step video tutorials to use different Thinkific features.
- Active Facebook community: In addition to its direct support options, Thinkific has an active Facebook community. You can expect a quick response from other community members. Additionally, Facebook provides you a platform to connect with other course creators.
Finally, Thinkific has a contact form that places you in the ticketing queue. You don’t have an option to call a direct support line or talk with someone through a chatbox. However, some of the plans have onboarding guidance, and the Business plan gets you priority support.
Overall, the online resources are impressive, but it would be nice to at least have some sort of phone line support for those who like speaking with actual people.
Here’s a breakdown of the features you get depending on the plan you select.
All Thinkific plans include the following features:
- Course Builder — Build a site from scratch without the need for coding knowledge.
- Fund Access — Get paid for your course sales instantly.
- Instructors — Set up multiple instructor profiles.
- SSL Certificate — Keeps your online school secure.
- Upsells — Generate additional revenue from upselling products before checkout.
- Forums — Discuss lessons with students or give feedback.
- Notifications — Notify students through the platform.
- Hosting — Host your content in the cloud.
- Language — Set the language of your website.
- Support — Contact the customer support team via email or phone if you run into issues.
The good news is that Thinkific does have a free plan. As you could expect, the free plan has a lot of limitations. However, it is still enough to give you a taste of everything the Thinkific experience.
So what do you get with the free plan?
You can create one limited course. But you can enroll an unlimited number of students. You can also give your students quizzes and surveys. You can upload PDF, audio, and video files.
This is a great option for anyone who is new to creating courses.
Thinkific Pricing: $49 per month (monthly billing) or $39 per month (annual billing)
The Basic plan includes all the features under Free — only this time, you get unlimited courses and students. Under this plan, you can start creating coupons to give students more reasons to sign up for online learning.
You can also email students though under this plan, you can only do so one at a time.
If you’re planning on using a custom domain, you’ll need to register for this plan or higher. You’ll also need this plan if you want to use drip content, affiliate reporting, email integrations, and Zapier triggers.
You can manually enroll students and export the data for analysis.
Thinkific Pricing: $99 per month (monthly billing) or $79 per month (annual billing)
The Pro plan includes all the features under Basic. Here you can add two site admin accounts and five course admins/authors. You can introduce private and hidden courses.
This is the plan you want if you want more flexible pricing options. You can offer one-time payments, subscriptions, payment plans, or additional course prices. There’s also an option to offer your courses for free if that’s part of your strategy.
You can also bundle courses under this plan.
In this plan, you can offer completion certificates for students who finish the course. You can create assignments, start a community, and do live sessions using Zoom (you’ll need a separate Zoom account).
Advanced customization is also unlocked for those who want to edit their CSS or HTML.
Best of all, you get priority support when you sign up for the Pro plan.
Pro Growth Plan
Thinkific Pricing: Free up to 100 students; then $0.10 per active student up to a max of $499 per month.
This is an add-on to the Pro plan. The Growth package includes all Pro features plus groups, advanced segmentation, public API, Webhooks (for developers), and integrations like Infusionsoft, Brillium, ActiveCampaign, and Zapier.
Pro Growth also lets you build more communities; import students; and enroll students and send emails in bulk.
This plan also removes Thinkific branding so it’s ideal for those of you who need a white labeling feature.
Thinkific Pricing: $499 per month (monthly billing) or $399 per month (annual billing)
For bigger businesses, you’ll want to sign up for the Premier plan. It includes all of the features under Pro. But this time, you get five site admin accounts, 15 group analysts, and 50 course administrators/authors.
You also get single sign-on and a 30-minute onboarding call plus training.
It’s a little overkill, especially for beginners. But it’s nothing compared to the next plan.
Thinkific Pricing: Contact Thinkific for a quote
This is the plan for those of you with custom needs. This plan allows you to scale your online course.
You get a dedicated customer success manager, migration planning, unlimited admins and analysts, more than three separate Thinkific sites, a sandbox site, enterprise API access, 24/7 monitoring, advanced security features, and more.
It’s the best option for big businesses that are looking to grow.
Regardless of what plan you go for, there will be a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can avail of any plan with confidence.
Thinkific vs the Competition
Udemy is a popular way to sell online courses if you want to avoid working with code. The platform is very user-friendly, with lots of tools to help you grow, such as custom pricing options, a handy support team, and plenty of marketing solutions.
Udemy stands out in the online learning platform because you don’t need to design an environment for education from scratch. You instantly publish your course on an environment that has plenty of interest from various customers already.
Unfortunately, you don’t have quite as much control over certain elements with Udemy as you do with Thinkific pricing plans. You don’t create your own sub domain or website with this learning platform, but instead join a membership site.
- Very easy to get started and find new students
- SEO friendly so you can rank better
- No need to know about any coding information.
- Decent support for online learning, including phone support
- Mobile access to courses is available on paid plans
- Only really suitable for your first course, hard to get a great income
- No website or sub domain
- No branding flexibility
Another top choice for those in search of a course creation platform for their eCommerce strategy, is Podia. This handy learning management system makes it easy to share your work with the masses. You can easily sell a range of online memberships according to different pricing options. There’s also support for digital downloads and customization elements.
If you’re searching for a site that has everything you need for a brilliant online education, Podia has you covered. This user-friendly product comes with access to secure payment processing, social media access, and more. Podia also comes with a lot of pricing choices for your course business.
One possible downside is that although Podia makes it easy to sell courses, it’s lacking some advanced features like reporting which you can get with Thinkific.com and Thinkific plus.
- Good customer support
- Easy use and set-up
- New features constantly added
- No content restrictions
- Invoicing and VAT support
- Make your own URL
- Live webinars help you get started
- Own your data and customer list
- Access earnings immediately
- Limited payment choices
- Not easy to personalize email marketing
- No support built-in for analytics
Academy of Mine
A fantastic solution for online education, Academy of Mine makes it easy to connect with unlimited students online. If you want a powerful LMS that comes with convenient back-end management tools, Academy of Mine has got you covered. This powerful tool simplifies your life by providing everything you need to create and promote successful courses.
With Academy of Mine, you manage all of your educational tools with ease and you get a powerful marketing strategy too. There’s support for quizzes and assignments so you can ensure that your students are making the right progress. There’s also an option to access payments from a range of different platform solutions too.
With Academy of Mine, you can use eCommerce tools, accept credit cards, or just take PayPal, there’s also plenty of support for SEO too.
- Brilliant range of prices for paid subscriptions
- Plenty of support
- Access to student reward options
- Lots of coupons for encouraging sales
- Packaging options for course bundling
- Easy options to navigate your student community
- Lots of custom components for your courses
- Great for back-end management
- Not the best knowledgebase.
- Takes a while to understand the interface completely
- Limited marketing options.
Kajabi is one of the best options out there for creating online courses and memberships.
It offers unlimited video hosting, 10+ well-designed course player themes, iOS/Android mobile app, quizzes, and surveys, Community, Coaching, and much more.
Kajabi lets you run your entire business on the platform. You can create a website, run a blog, create podcasts, build marketing funnels, and automate email marketing.
Some of its marketing features like Sales Pipeline Builder and Automations are game-changers and no other course platform has anything as powerful.
The starting price is steep but the pricing should work well if you build your entire business or a significant portion of it on the platform.
- All-in-one platform
Offers 10+ course player themes
- Has an iOS/Android mobile app
- Powerful learning & engagement tools
- Website builder with blogging tool
- Inbuilt sales pipeline builder
- Email marketing tools
- Excellent (24X7) customer support
- Lacks advanced quizzing tools
- No native support for certificates
- Doesn’t handle sales taxes
- Starting price is steep
Thinkific Review – Final Verdict
Thinkific is one of the best course creation tools on the market. Thinkific’s simple design, rich features, and pricing put it at the head of the pack.
As a course creator, the most important part of your business strategy is to understand the features you require from a platform. Once you have a plan in place and the features to match your requirements, you’re ready to create your online education empire.
As a platform, Thinkific is feature-rich and offers all the necessary tools to make money online by selling highly-profitable online courses.
Try Thinkific or Yourself
Try a risk free unlimited 14 day trial of all Thinkific's features! Click the link below!
Frequently Asked Questions
Excluding the Free plan, there are three main plans to choose from. If paid annually, Basic costs $39/month, Pro costs $79/month, and Premier is $399/month.
No, Thinkific does not take a cut from your sales.
Yes. You can contact Thinkific by phone at 1-888-832-2409 or by email at email@example.com. Thinkific, however, does not have live chat support as of this writing.
No. You don’t have to provide your credit card information during the registration process. You can start with the Free plan and give your details when you’re ready to move to a higher plan.
No. You will always be the owner of all the resources that you upload on Thinkific.
Yes. The support team can help you migrate your content from one learning management system to Thinkific.
Yes. The support team can help you migrate your content from one learning management system to Thinkific.
Yes. You can get a 50% lifetime discount for the Basic or Pro plan. You just need to be eligible to get it.
Yes. Thinkific offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Yes. You can use Zoom, YouTube Live, and Live Stream to broadcast your content in real-time. You can also embed these videos into your courses for posterity.
Yes. You have the option to offer downloadable content so students can still access your courses while they’re offline.
Yes, Thinkific is a legitimate company. The company was founded in 2012 and has over 100 employees serving over 36,000 course creators.
Publishing and selling your courses and content on Thinkific is safe. Courses cannot be accessed by unauthorized users – only students with active accounts are able to log in. There are also content permission controls within Thinkific's course platform that prevents students from downloading videos and other information. Thinkific also has a feature that can prevent students from selecting and copying text within your course.
Yes, Thinkific courses are fully mobile responsive and render well on any phone, tablet, or computer.
No, Thinkific does not take a cut or any commission from your course sales. Thinkific makes all of their money on paid plans, which can be found on their pricing page.
Yes, Thinkific is a web-based learning management system (LMS). LMS software is used to provide training courses and educational content in both written and video format.
Thinkific headquarters is located at 369 Terminal Ave, Vancouver, BC V6A 4C4, Canada.